Stags Meet Denver Thursday in ECAC Tournament
The Fairfield University men's lacrosse team competes in the ECAC Lacrosse League Tournament versus top-seeded and third-ranked Denver at 5 p.m. on Thursday at Boswell Field on the campus of Hobart College. The fourth-seeded Stags are 8-6 on the year and finished the ECAC regular season slate at 4-3. The Pioneers are 11-3 overall and captured a share of the regular season crown at 6-1 in ECAC play.
All three of the ECAC Tournament games will air on the Fox Television Networks as part of a multi-year agreement between the ECAC and FOX Sports Media Group. All three games will air on Fox College Sports and Fuel TV, but will not be available on line. Mark Larson and Dale Drypolcher will call the action, with Terry Mangan on the sideline.
Fairfield joins a familiar crowd — Denver, Loyola & Ohio State — in the ECAC Lacrosse League tournament, as the quartet has each qualified for all three of the tournaments held. The Stags are the fourth-seed for the first time, after being the number three seed in each of the last two tournaments. Fairfield is 2-0 in ECAC semifinal action and 2-2 in the tournament, playing in the final each of the past two seasons.
Fairfield and Denver are meeting for the 11th time, and second in 12 days, all as conference foes in either the ECAC or Great West Lacrosse League. The Stags have won consecutive meetings, both in overtime, 10-9 at Denver two weeks ago and 9-8, last season on Lessing Field. The Stags are now 5-6 all-time in the series and are now 2-3 in ECAC games with the Pioneers. The Pioneers defeated the Stags in consecutive weeks in 2011, 11-5 in the regular season finale and 11-9 in the ECAC Championship Game. The series between the two squads began in 2001 with a 13-11 Fairfield win at home. The Stags won the next year as well, 12-11, for their only road win in the series. Denver earned its first win in 2003, 16-9 and won in 2004 by the same score. The Stags won 9-8 in 2005 in the last GWLL meeting and then fell by the same score in 2010 when the series resumed with Denver joined the ECAC.
Denver has won six of its last seven games and is 11-3 on the year. The Pioneers are one of the most potent offenses in the nation, averaging 12.64 goals per game, while allowing 9.29 an outing. Eric Law is the team leader with 59 points, scoring 30 times, while Wesley Berg has a team-best 39 goals and 52 points. Denver has four players with 31 or more points this season and has 104 assists on 177 goals. Chase Carraro has gone 93-163 (57.1%) in face-offs this spring, while Chace Calkin is 75-161 (46.6%). Carraro has a team-best 44 ground balls, one of six players with at least 20 on the roster. Ryan LaPlante, 504, and Jamie Faus, 329, have played most of the minutes in goal for Denver. LaPlante has a .570 save percentage and 106 saves with a 9.52 GAA, while Faus has 64 stops, a .566 save percentage and an 8.93 GAA.
Sam Snow scored 56 seconds into overtime as the Stags defeated #1 Denver 10-9 on April 20th in Denver. The Stags rallied from a 9-7 fourth-quarter deficit to force the extra period and earn the win. Eric Warden led Fairfield with four goals, including all three of the second-half. Jack Murphy stopped 11 shots in the game, denying a last second attempt in the fourth quarter. The Stags were a perfect 17-17 clearing the ball, while recording a season-low 21 ground balls
Fairfield has had success in tight games in the five seasons that Andy Copelan has been at the helm. Copelan coached Stag teams are 30-13 in games decided by two or fewer goals. Last season Fairfield went 6-0 in games decided by a single-goal and the loss at Carolina snapped an eight-game win streak in games decided by that margin. Under Copelan, Fairfield is 15-9 in games decided by a single tally.